I just got a job on a hem/onc unit and I have some questions. First, I am concerned about the safety of administering chemo and caring for patients receiving chemo. At the hospital I'll be working at, we don't mix chemo and all the nurses use the necessary PPE. It seems very safe, but when I was researching the topic I was reading articles online about how chemo has been detected in oncology nurses and pharmacists who prepare chemo. The article didn't say what kind of PPE was used, but if they were using it, I find that very scary. It doesn't make sense to me that after using chemo gloves and gowns etc, chemo would still be detected in nurses' urine!? Is it really that strong? I don't plan on having kids any time soon, but I want to eventually and this concerns me a lot. So I guess my question for all you oncology nurses is, do you feel safe at your job? Have oncology nurses you know not been able to get pregnant or had any adverse effects of handling chemo?
I love oncology and I feel that this is the right specialty for me, it's just the chemo that scares me.
I would love your thoughts on this. Thank you!
Apr 3, '12
I work in a onc floor and this is my concern too. I work with nurses who are quite fertile who never have issues with pregnancy while working on the floor. Of course when they found out they were pregnant they asked to not take chemo patients. Totally understandable. Then I worked with nurses who have had miscarriages or difficulty having babies. They blames the stress of the floor and chemo exposure. Then there is one of my coworkers who had breast cancer with no family history. She thinks chemo exposure and working night shift may have a role in her cancer... I also have a coworker with anemia issues and she also thinks chemo exposure may have played a role to it too. SCARY!!!I'm not ready for babies yet, but when that time comes I am nervous if I choose to continue working on the floor. I'm extra careful. I double glove during chemo, wear a mask/ggogle, gown, and aometimes tie my hair back (sometimes in a rush and forget). But sometimes... After chemo I forgot the 48+ hours post transfusion it can still be in the blood sweat and urine. I mean don't get me wrong I'm always using gloves... But sometimes you forget that chemo can be everywhere... Just gotta take the precautions to protect yourself no matter what.
Apr 4, '12
Yeah...I plan to be extremely careful when working there. It's just so hard to believe that with all the protective measures it could still be dangerous. How long have the nurses you mentioned been working there?
Also, most women who get breast cancer have no family history...so for that nurse to say that she got breast cancer from chemo exposure seems kind of far-fetched, unless she had known exposures like a spill or was mixing/administering chemo before all of the protective measures were in place.